Nanolaminate coatings to improve long-term stability of plasmonic structures in physiological environments

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Virginia Tech


The unprecedented ability of plasmonic metal nano-structures to concentrate light into deep-subwavelength volumes has propelled their use in a vast array of nanophotonics technologies and research endeavors. They are used in sensing, super-resolution imaging, SPP lithography, SPP assisted absorption, SPP-based antennas, light manipulation, etc. To take full advantage of the attractive capabilities of CMOS compatible low-cost plasmonic structures based on Al and Cu, nanolaminate coatings are investigated to improve their long-term stability in corrosive physiological environments. The structures are fabricated using phase-shifting PDMS masks, e-beam deposition, RIE, Atomic Layer Deposition and Rapid Thermal Annealing. An alternate approach using Nanosphere Lithography (NSL) was also investigated. Films were examined using ellipsometry, atomic force microscopy and transmission measurements. Accelerated in-situ tests of Hafnium Oxide/Aluminum Oxide nanolaminate shells in a mildly pH environment with temperatures akin to physiological environments emulated using PBS show greatly enhanced endurance, with stable structures that last for more than one year.



Aluminum Oxide / Hafnium Oxide Nanolaminate Coatings, Atomic Layer Deposition, Plasmonics, In-situ Testing, Stability Improvement